Bunch v. Commonwealth

In Bunch v. Commonwealth, 225 Va. 423, 304 S.E.2d 271, cert. denied, 464 U.S. 977, 78 L. Ed. 2d 352, 104 S. Ct. 414 (1983), the defendant was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death for robbing and murdering a woman with whom he was having an intimate affair. One of the issues raised by Bunch was the sufficiency of the evidence of robbery to support his capital murder conviction. Bunch maintained "the evidence was sufficient to make a prima facie case of homicide and larceny, but not of capital murder in the commission of robbery." 225 Va. at 439, 304 S.E.2d at 280. The Supreme Court found that on January 31, 1982, Bunch went to the victim's home with the intent to kill her and steal her property, that he did kill her as planned, and that he did steal property from her person. She may or may not have been alive at the time he stole her property, and she may even have been dead for some time when he accomplished the theft. Neither of these eventualities is material, however; the important considerations are that robbery was the motive for the killing and that Bunch had the intent to rob when he killed the victim. Nor does it make any difference whether, as Bunch asserts, "the items stolen could have been taken from parts of the residence away from where the victim was shot." Id. at 440, 304 S.E.2d at 280-81 The issue addressed in Bunch was whether a robbery was committed.